Must church planters I know are shot callers, trigger pullers, and “get it done yesterday” kinds of individuals. In most situations, this kind of drive and execution is exactly what we need. But in some situations, this is exactly the opposite of what we need. In fact, if we act too quickly in certain situations, we may make the wrong decision.
For example, hiring staff, calling elders or deacons, or finding a facility are all the kinds of decisions that should not be taken lightly and should require a thoughtful, prayerful process. But for many planters, the weight of serving alone or the immensity of the workload tempts us to skip the process in hopes of lessening their burden. In the end, the sad fact is this often actually only increases the difficulty.
So how do we train ourselves to respect the process and avoid the headaches that come when we don’t?
Consider the following ideas:
1. Pray for patience.
While patience is a natural byproduct of the Spirit’s work in our lives, most planters would do well to ask God to increase production. The fast paced world in which we live and the countless decisions we have to make every day seek to push this even further from our minds this essential quality for wise leadership. Is this prayer on your radar? If not, it should be.
2. Search the Scriptures.
The Scriptures are filled with kings and leaders who acted rashly and payed the price. They serve as an example for us not to follow. In addition, Jesus Himself in Luke 14:28 tells his disciples to count the cost before building a tower because if they don’t and they can’t finish, their friends will laugh at them. The same is still true today. We need to count the cost before making a decision.
3. Create a simple decision making filter.
For me, I typically go “old school” when making big decisions. It is not uncommon for me to write out a “pros” and “cons” list or some kind of linear “where we are” “obstacles in the way” “where we need to be” kind of roadmap. What works for you? Do whatever works for you to make sure you think through the necessary components and get to reach the right conclusion.
4. Consider the alternative.
Learn to ask the hard questions like “If we run into this half cocked, what could happen? Could blow up the church?” That would be...bad. These kinds of questions slow me down, force me to work the process and sometimes even help me come up with contingency plans if needed.
5. Recognize that the process is, in fact, part of making the decision.
Because we are often “people of action,” waiting often seems like useless inaction. But if we are doing this right, we are acting. Waiting is simply part of the process playing itself out. Be patient. Take the “in between” times to pray or do one of the other ten thousand unfinished tasks around you.
For a church planter, the ability to act clearly and quickly is crucial. But if we skip the proper process we need to make certain decisions, we, and everyone around us may pay dearly.
Respect the process.
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